For Week 22 I returned to my documentary roots. We were staying at my parents house for a few days while in Pennsylvania and my wife wanted to take Roy (our dog) for a walk. So she ventured out to a place about 15 minutes away called Fisherman’s Paradise.
When she came back she told me how beautiful it was, and that I should go out there and film.
So the next day, we took Roy out to walk there again, and I brought my camera. I wasn’t sure what I was going to film, maybe a fisherman, or the stream, who knew. I like to get to the locations and let them present a story to me, or see what story I come up with when I’m there.
We started walking along the stream and I filmed some cool looking spots, but nothing was jumping out at me. I couldn’t really think of anything. I started to think I’d make a video of Roy walking around and swimming. I shot him for a little while, but the idea really wasn’t hitting me. We had to head back to my parents house because we were going to a family reunion and then driving back to NC that night.
As we were driving out Amy (my wife) pointed out a man fly fishing. I said, “It would be cool to do a little documentary on him”, and she said “Go ahead, do it”.
So we turned the car around. I walked up to him introduced myself and asked if I could film him, and ask him a few questions. He obliged, and I spent the next 20 minutes filming him while we talked about fly fishing.
He was everything I could hope for. He had a passion for what he was doing, he had knowledge and experience, he was funny, he was willing, and he gave me really good content.
When I started interviewing him, I really only had one question for him, and that was “Tell me about fly fishing”. After that it was just a natural conversation. I listened to what he said and asked questions about it. The most important thing any interviewer can do is listen.
I hate having pre written questions, they are distracting. I find if you have a list of questions, most people just ask whats on the list. Listening to people and asking follow up questions about what they say gets much better content.
I like everything to be natural, like the subject is having a conversation or talking to the viewer directly.
I asked a few follow ups and ended with the most important question any interviewer can ask, and that is “Is there anything you would like to add?”. That question gave me the ending line, “It’s not all about catching the fish”. That question almost always gives me great content. It gives the person being interviewed a chance to say whatever they want. It might give them a chance to talk about something you didn’t ask them.
After talking to him for a few minutes I shot some B-roll of him, thanked him and we got back in the car.
As we were driving away I said, “I wish I could have got some shots from the water, or from the other side of the stream”, but there was a no wadding policy in that section of the stream. I would have loved to have put my GoPro in the water and have him cast out to it.
My wife then said there was a bridge to the other side. Even though we had to get back for the family reunion, she said I could go shoot some more. So, again we turned around and drove back and I spent about ten minutes getting a few shots from the other side of the stream. All in all, I shot him for 30 to 40 minutes total.
I shot it with my Canon 7D, the Tokina 11-16mm, and the Canon 100mm. I used the Rode VideoMic Pro for my audio, (It was a challenge with the rippling water). I edited it in about 5 hours with Adobe Premiere. I didn’t do any color grading on this video. All I did was add a little saturation because I shoot flat.
An hour of the editing time was looking for music. I wanted the music to be subtle, minimal, and unobtrusive. I ended up using a track from Digital Juice’s Stack Traxx’s Volume 41 Ambient Stacks 2. The song was called “Open Skies”.
Stack Traxx are layered music files, with each instrument on it’s own layer, so you can pick and choose what you want. I only used two layers, the guitar layer and the synth layer. I adjusted the volume on each at various points in the video.
I wanted a music bed to help fill in some of the pauses, but more importantly to help balance out the bad audio. The stream was very loud and you have no control over the mic levels.
I couldn’t really think of a good name for this piece, I was thinking of calling it “Hooked”, but that seemed too cheesy or too “Disney”. In the end I decided the piece was really about David and his love of fly fishing so a simple, direct and personal title of “David Wolfe, Fly Fisherman” seemed to fit. With that in mind, I wanted the font to match that personal feel, so I choose the hand written font “Journal”.
I like the spontaniety of this video. I love doing things spur of the moment, I love shooting something when you feel it, and I loved getting back to doing documentaries (What I studied in college). I also like the fact that I shot this in less than hour, and was able to get some really good coverage. Of course I would have liked to have had a dolly and a jib to get some really nice B-roll, but all I had was what fit in my backpack.
The backpack was the Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG (around $40). I like it for certain situations. I use 3 different backpacks, maybe I’ll do a comparison review on them someday.
Back to the B-roll. It’s important to try and get “Matching Action” shots. So I shot a variety of angles of him doing the same thing. I could then match the action of the various shots to make seamless cuts. This is important when you are editing. It creates a natural feel, and it gives you places to cut up dialogue, and cover jump cuts.
I need to thank my wife, who found the location, and also helped me on the shoot. She took the pics of me shooting David and also kept Roy busy. It was nice having her involved, I wouldn’t have had some of the shots if she wouldn’t have told me about the bridge.
Lastly, I want to thank David. I really enjoyed talking with him, hearing his story and learning about fly fishing. He was a really nice guy, funny, good spirited and knowledgable. I love people with passion, and David has one for fly fishing. I hope I brought that out for people to see. Passion is a wonderful thing, find yours and follow it, wherever it might take you.
You can watch Week 22 “David Wolfe, Fly Fisherman” here.